DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

9 March 2015

A journey with no end

This was first published, without the photo, on 5 March 2010


If I could, I would send all of you the magic words that would change your life to what you wish it to be. I don't have those magic powers, all I can do is write what I know and hope that the way you understand those words helps you towards a better life. The best I can do today is to say: slow down. I received an email from a reader saying that she wanted the kind of life I'm living but doesn't know how to go about it. I wrote back to ask if she'd read the 2007 parts of the blog where I write about budgeting, paying down debt, housework, gardening, slowing down and being at home. That explains how I came to this life and the closest thing I've written to the kind of guide she was looking for. She wrote back asking if I could condense it for her.

No, I can't.

Everyone who reads here can take what they need from what I write, but what I hope everyone gets is that we all have to take the time to slow down and at every opportunity, add value to our day. I add value to my hours by knitting, gardening, reading, sitting, talking, listening, watching and being still. We can all carry out the tasks of a simple home and live a more simple life by cooking from scratch, sewing and mending, making green cleaners, baking and gardening. That's the easy bit, although it takes persistence and the energy to do it every day. The more difficult bit is to connect the dots and to make those simple tasks mean something to you so you enjoy doing those tasks on a daily basis. The way I do that is to slow down, think about why I'm working in a particular way and to consciously enjoy what I'm doing. Sewing isn't just sewing, cooking isn't just combining ingredients in a pan, I think about why I'm sewing, who I'm sewing for and how I can make it special, not just for them but for me too. I feel the fabric, admire the colour combinations and take my time. I don't want to rush anything. I want the act of sewing to add value to my day.

There are no condensed versions of a slower and simpler life. You have to live the full measure of it. It is a life-long process - a journey with no end. If you look for short cuts you will short change yourself because the point is not to get to the end fast or with more chickens or loaves of bread baked, it's to enjoy the journey.


21 comments:

  1. I think you have summed it up beautifully Rhonda. People often ask me why I do things the 'longest and hardest way'? I always answer, "because it's the process I enjoy more than the product". I think that is so fundamental to living a slower life. It's why for example you hand make a quilt rather than buy a hand made one. Or grow your own veggies rather than buy at a market. To be able to say "I made that ", is the best feeling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly Jacqui. Though many people struggle to understand how satisfying that is. The emphasis seems to be on busy and convenience.

      Delete
  2. Very wise words and relevant to me today!

    When I visit my allotment, there is always so much needing to be done that it is tempting to just get stuck in, but I always try to stop and have a conversation with the other plot-holders.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. I do not mean that in a monetary way! ;-)

      Delete
  4. I agree with you, Rhonda and Jacqui, it's the process that is enjoyable. My hands always have to be busy cooking, sewing, quilting, gardening --- being productive. If I need a birthday gift for someone, I sit down and sew it. My mother taught me many life skills as we lived far out of town on a lake in Eastern Washington. We knew how to budget trips to town, do with what we had and learn so many skills of a more satisfying (not simple) life. I'm not quite as resourceful as you, Rhonda, but I have learned so much from your posts. I wish I could get my hands on your books. Thank you for all the time you take to write about your life and share with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome, Cheryl. I'm writing a third book at the moment (my last) and Penguin is trying to sell Down to Earth as well as the new book to the international market at the London Book Fair in April. Hopefully there'll be some interest and you'll be able to buy all three books in the US soon. xx

      Delete
  5. Hi Rhonda,

    As always, your words strike harmonious chords in my heart and soul. :-) Thank you for all the time and effort you go through to share your words of wisdom with us.

    Just a side note, when I read this news article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/society/11388406/In-praise-of-pootling-why-we-should-all-slow-down-stop-pushing-ourselves-and-spend-time-doing-nothing.html it reminded me of you with its message of mindfulness.

    Blessings to you and yours x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link Mrs TW. I'll read that later. xx

      Delete
  6. I am so glad l have your blog to turn to as l walk along this path, my quest for a simpler life, or my way home as l call it. Every day l read some of your older posts, yesterday it was what you wrote about wabi sabi. I grew up with so many of the simple values, l feel rather lost in toays norwegian society. In Norway it is all about money, career, posessions and sports. I read your blog with my morning coffee to remind myself that what l do here at home has great signifigance although after norwegian scale l don't count for much. Thank you, for making my day feel important; looking after my home and family. Pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can assure you Pam, you count for a lot. It just that those around you can't see the forest for the trees. It's the same here and in most Western societies, I expect. Take care, love, and enjoy your day. xx

      Delete
    2. Pam I love the way you call your quest for a simpler life your way home. I see it like that too but sometimes forget. Thanks for the reminder.
      kxx

      Delete
  7. Wonderful post. You summed it up perfectly. Wish we were closer so we could dilly-dally together. I know we would have so much fun.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Rhonda,

    I hope your writing is going well. 'Slow Down' was just what I needed to hear today. I am juggling full-time work with bringing two kids up on my own and some days I feel my head is going to spin off, there is so much to do. When I have time off work I find myself rushing and unable to slow down.

    I did something which might seem crazy given my circumstances - I bought a 1940s dinner service which cannot go in the dishwasher. You cannot imagine how much pleasure I get from standing at the sink, handling each beautiful piece, and washing up slowly. I love having the children there to dry up with me, or to do it myself. When pushed for time the children load the pots etc into the dishwasher, and I've come to accept that that is ok - I have the life I have, and cannot do everything the way I might prefer. In a similar vein, I used the dryer twice on the weekend as I became ill after looking after one of the children (and still working) for a week. I used to see this as a huge failure but am learning to see it as a kindness to myself. If the head of the house cannot function or work everyone will go down!

    Have a wonderful day,

    Madeleine.x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have my late mother in laws Christmas dishes, every December I take them out and lovingly set them up in the china cabinet, I wash all the dishes by hand but I enjoy washing these carefully and thinking of her and how she loved the holidays and old memories. The first of January I put them away to be ready for next year. I agree, some things are just lovely to wash!

      Delete
    2. Thank you Kathy and Madeleine. What a lovely thing to do. I have my grandmothers dinner set in the cupboard and it never gets used. I will set it, eat off it and wash it with love this Christmas! kxx

      Delete
  9. I agree with everything you said very much - though I hadn't quite thought about the "adding value" concept in the way you describe, but it is very wise! Sometimes I grow a bit weary (lack of sleep these days, mostly!) and I need that reminder to make it a point to enjoy what I'm doing. It comes easily with certain tasks, but not others!
    -Jaime

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember that you'll go through different seasons, Jaime. Sometimes you can do a lot more than you can at other times. A new baby takes a lot of work but when that season passes, you'll have time for other things as well.

      Delete
  10. Because I don't work many hours a week outside of my home I have plenty of time to cook, bake, sew, garden and make things. Money I don't have a lot of so my time is used wisely to keep our budget down.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This sounds like Zen, Rhonda.
    Trying to live in that special moment and be at what we doing - and enjoying it.

    I always thought, we (I'm german) took a wrong junction at one point.
    We have that thoughts at ca. 1000 a.Chr. -f.e. Meister Ekkehardt- but we lost it.
    The asians was on a better way.

    Now we have to find the way back -or we destroy our biosphere and us ...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you Rhonda for being so wonderfully articulate.
    That sentence about connecting the dots gives me such a lovely picture of the fabric of simple life that I can keep in mind when persistence and energy are waning.
    Kate xx

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

A link to your blog will be automatically added to your comment. Please don't add another link to your blog in your comment. Those comments will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...